The melanopsin signalling pathway in ocular, circadian and sleep physiology: mechanisms to clinical application


  • Prof Russell Foster

    University of Oxford

Project summary

A major focus of Professor Foster's research has been to understand how light influences circadian rhythms – the daily cycle of biological processes that impact upon sleep and wakefulness. He is particularly interested in how photoreceptors in retinal ganglion cells of the eye detect and signal light information to regulate circadian rhythms. During this award, Professor Foster will use animal models to elucidate the neurobiological machinery that sets, maintains and tunes the internal clocks of mammals. He will also develop new pharmacological agents to adjust circadian rhythms in human subjects with abnormal sleep/wake timing. This work will significantly increase our understanding of the cellular and molecular determinants of sleep and wakefulness, while applying this knowledge to the task of improving human health across a broad range of conditions from eye disease to mental illness.